The 2017 finale for Natural State Kayak Anglers was an exercise in patience and perseverance on a pleasant August day in the Ozarks. I love Beaver Lake, it is a beautiful body of water and we’re fortunate to have such a great reservoir this close to home. I also love it when we have kayak tournaments at Beaver, it really is great practice to tackle other large bodies of water such as Table Rock, Dardanelle and Kentucky Lake. The only problem is that Beaver can be at times…well…the Dead Sea.
As I wrote in the tournament preview, Beaver hasn’t been friendly to kayak tournaments in August and September – giving up only FIVE limits in a past event on this nationally known fishery. Surely this year would be different!
Of the 38 anglers who hit the water for a 5:45 start, only FIVE once again turned in a limit (15%). A solid number of anglers (30) did card a keeper, which isn’t a bad number overall. On a day when any keeper was a good keeper, Terry Brown swooped in from the KBA to take first place with 70.50″ while Carson McBride hit a buzzer beater (more on that later) to finish second with 70.25″ for the day, and I was lucky enough to finish third with 68.50″. Decland McDonald ruined the dink-fest by catching a 20″ largemouth for Big Bass, and John Evans had second Big Bass with 19.25″.
Here are the top ten finishers:
- Terry Brown
- Carson McBride
- Jason Kincy
- Dwain Batey
- Roy Roberts
- Declan McDonald
- Jason Thomas
- Rance Richardson
- Cole Sikes
- Wayne Johnson
Congrats to all anglers for sticking with the grind and working all day long. Also congratulations to Dwain Batey who took NSKA Angler of the Year honors – he had a great season!
Angler Tournament Recaps
Below are some summaries of how the top finishers found their fish:
Terry Brown – I launched at the start from the ramp in Hickory Creek recreation area and paddled 2.5 miles to the pin shown in the map below first thing Saturday morning. I started out working topwater but had no luck, so after an hour of trying various other things I picked up the T-Rig Zoom Ole monster (Junebug) and pitched at wood cover along the bank, caught my first one in 2 or 3 casts, and another one on the same point a couple mins later, the pattern held up all morning, had a limit pretty quick, caught a few more and culled up my bag and just fished my way back to the ramp with only a couple of misses and two lost fish on the way. Simplicity wins the day.
Carson McBride – I put in at the ramp close to the swimming area in Hickory Creed park. I know that area very well and knew of a shallow hump that goes way out that is covered in brush. I got to my spot early and waited for the start time. I was hearing lots of fish bust everywhere around me. I tried to get on a topwater bite and a squarebill but it wasn’t working. I knew fish were moving and active, so I picked up my swim jig and fished up shallow and quickly picked up a 13.75 and not long after my kicker 18.75, then caught another 13.00 and 10.00 and 10.25. I tried to cull all day long but it wasn’t working. I had the lead all day long and was under pressure just trying to catch one. At 2:59 I caught a 14.50 incher which gave me a 4.50 inch cull and put me up to second place at the last minute.
Jason Kincy – I also launched at one of the Hickory Creek rec area ramps and had identified an area with buck brush that was just off a creek channel and started out there. Like everyone else I started out with topwater and didn’t do very well for the first couple of hours. It seemed to me that the fish just weren’t shallow so I paid attention to activity off-shore and if there were shad flipping the surface within range I attacked it with a Heddon Zara Spook with a Fish Allure scented tab to try and draw up some bass. This method caught me three of my keepers, including my two largest. This ended about 9:30 and then I went back to working areas around bushes and docks and picked up a few more on a Pop-R and on small texas rigged worms. Once the sun came out around 10:30, I had a hard time catching anything else. Was happy on the day to finish third, but lost three fish that I believe could have put me in first place.
NSKA River Valley
South of the tunnel 10 anglers competed at Clear Creek and had definitively better results than their NWA counterparts:
- Chris Nemeth 86.50″
- Shane Oakes 86.25″
- Christa Hibbs 77.50″
Big Bass was a tie between Shane Oakes and Chris Nemeth for 19″. Congrats to all of these anglers, as well as the NSKA River Valley Angler of the Year – Christa Hibbs!
I really want to thank Jeff Malott for being the tournament director for NSKA, this is a lot of work and adds a lot of fun for the participants. Although Beaver Lake can be a tough venue, I hope we can continue to have tournaments out there. Also, after a year heavy with road runners and online tournaments, it was a really great experience to launch from the same area. My first year fishing, almost all events were like this and it is great. These are always the best tournaments from a competitive standpoint, but also for the camaraderie of being around others. I met a couple of new faces on the water and chatted with them about the day and now have connected on Facebook. I was also about 50 yards from Carson when he caught his buzzer beater and was whooping and hollering. Relationships and being around other anglers is a great part of the sport, next year I hope we have more events where we’re all in the same vicinity.
The Arkansas State Championship is next up at Dardanelle in October! Time to get your Arkansas River on.